Day 1 - Revival That Counts
The doorbell rang again. Nic ran to the door from the lounge room and slid across the wood floor in his socks, stopping just as he reached the door. He yanked the door open and greeted the twins, “You guys are the last ones! Come on in!”
Drake shook his head and flicked his shoes into the pile just next to the door. “You’re like a wind-up toy,” he said to Nic, “a broken one that is stuck on super-psycho speed.”
Nic laughed and clapped his hands together like a windup monkey. He turned, clapping, and marched back into the lounge room.
Shane slipped his shoes off and followed Nic and Drake into the house.
As they entered the lounge room everyone greeted them.
“No need sitting down,” Mr.. Malku said as he entered the room from his study door. “We’re all here, so let’s head into the front yard.”
“The front yard?” nearly everyone questioned at once.
“Yes,” Mr.. Malku said, “That’s where this week’s Change Agents Group starts! Follow me.”
They all made the procession to the front door, put their shoes back on, and walked onto the grassy lawn between the house and the street. They naturally formed a circle as they stood together.
“The temperature drops quickly in the evenings,” Mr.. Malku commented. “OK, last week what was our group theme and what did you do with it during the week?”
“We usually do this at the table,” Drake mumbled. “It’s cold out here.”
Nic laughed, “That’s funny, because what you just said is the exact opposite of the theme from last week!”
A few people giggled and guffawed. Drake flicked one of his shoes at Nic, missing badly.
Melissa answered, “It was joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength.”
“And how did you use your strength during the past week?” Mr.. Malku asked.
Melissa smiled, “Chloe and I made some lovely cards. She designed them—”
“And Melissa wrote beautiful poems,” Chloe cut in. “And we gave them to friends who were sad during the week.”
“And to some adults at church,” Melissa added, “who we wanted to encourage.”
“Very nice,” Mr. Malku said. “That was an excellent example of using joy to bring strength! Anyone else?”
Stephen shuffled his feet, staring at them, then lifted his eyes and said, “Yeah, I called my Mom. She lives a long way from here. I don’t talk to her much. I guess, last week, I just realized I was weak in joy when it came to my Mom. So, I called her and read her something I wrote for her. I hope she didn’t think I was reading. I just wanted her to know she is speci... well... I mean... I want her to know I do like her.”
“Wow, Stephen,” Mr. Malku said gently, “That’s big “strength in the Lord” stuff. Good job. I’m proud of you.”
“I’m freezing,” Drake cut in.
Mr. Malku laughed, “Ah yes, we’re outside, aren’t we?”
“And it’s getting dark,” Drake added.
“Sure is,” Mr. Malku said. “Can I get you guys to hold hands in a circle?”
“HOLD HANDS!?” nearly everyone complained.
“It’s not for romance,” Mr. Malku laughed, “It’s why we came outside. Quickly, grab the person’s hand next to you.”
The circle of seven friends quickly locked hands with Mr. Malku.
“Look in front of you and tell me what you see,” Mr. Malku said.
“I see Liam,” Nic said.
“And I see Nic,” Liam responded. “Because he’s across the circle from me.”
“Ok,” Mr. Malku said, “more detail.”
“He needs a haircut,” Liam said.
“Anyone else?” Mr. Malku asked.
“I see you and Chloe,” Shane said. “You’re holding hands and that’s cool for a dad and daughter.”
A round of “awwww” went around the circle.
“Thanks,” Mr. Malku said, “Well done. Now I want you to release hands, do a 180, and hold hands again.”
Everyone released hands and turned around.
“So, facing away from the circle?” Melissa asked.
“Yes,” Mr. Malku said. “Hold hands again with the person next to you. It’s the same circle, right?”
“Duh,” Drake interjected.
“What do you see now?” Mr. Malku asked.
“I see our house,” Liam said.
“I see the street,” Nic said.
“I see the city lights,” Shane said.
“I see the houses across the street,” Stephen said.
“I see the sunset,” Chloe said, “Or at least where it was a few minutes ago.”
“Very good,” Mr. Malku said. “This week our theme is about spiritual revival. There are two kinds of revival just like there are two kinds of circles.”
“Inward and outward revival?” Shane asked. “So, our heart changes and then our actions change?”
“That’s a good picture of personal revival,” Mr. Malku said, “but we are a group. We have each other’s hands. We need to remember to spend time facing both ways as we come to know Jesus better. Who wants to go back inside?”
Everyone dropped the hand of the person next to them and raced toward the warmth of the house. Shoes piled up on the porch as people piled back into the house.
Just as the last person entered the lounge room, they heard a familiar call from the kitchen, “Dinner is served!”
In unison, as they headed to the table, the group shouted, “And the Kingdom is growing!”
Just a few minutes later, after the prayer and rapid intake of food that always happens when teenagers are present, things were quiet at the table. Forks clinked on plates as food made its way to hungry mouths.
“Mr. Malku,” Shane asked from across the table, “What is the difference between inward and outward revival?”
“What is revival?” Stephen asked.
“Good question,” Mr. Malku said. “Anyone have an answer for Stephen?”
The table went quiet. The group looked around the table for an answer.
“Revival,” Liam said quietly, “is when broken worship gets fixed.”
Mr. Malku set his fork down and stared at his oldest son. He leaned back against his chair and asked, “What do mean Liam? I really like it. But what do you mean ‘when broken worship gets fixed’”?
“I’ve seen revival at our church,” Liam said. “Before the revival, worship seemed routine—every week was the same—and people talked through the songs, and the people up front looked as bored as we were in the audience. But when revival happened—at least I think that’s what happened—the worship service was like, well, it just seemed like people actually wanted to worship God and loved doing it. So it was fixed.”
“Well that is certainly revival,” Mr. Malku said. “Thanks for that insight, Liam.”
The rest of the group nodded and thanked Liam.
“What would happen if one of our inward revivals at church got out of the building?” Mr. Malku asked. “What would happen if our church circle faced outward?”
“The whole world could sing with us,” Chloe said with a laugh. “That would be an awesome church!”
Mr. Malku pulled a TV remote out of his pocket and flicked on the TV in the lounge room. They could see it through the opening between the two rooms. A few sentences popped up on the screen.
“Micah was a prophet to God’s people,” Mr. Malku said, “when they were in need of a big revival. They were so inward focused, though, that they couldn’t see their problem. Worship was fine, as far as they could tell. But God wanted them to face outward. Let’s take turns reading one sentence each. Nic, you start.”
The group read Micah 6:6-8.
Group Interaction Time
Read Micah 6:6-8 with your Week of Prayer group.
What differences between inward and outward facing worship did you see in this passage?
Have you ever thought about “doing justice” and “loving mercy” as acts of worship? What would a church “worshipping” like Micah 6:8 be like?
How can we be an outward focused group? What are some ways we are already outward focused? What can our acts of worship do for the world around us? What impact could we have?
“This has been a really vibrant discussion,” Mr. Malku said. “We will continue it next week when we tell our stories of how we put outward focus into practice during the week. What ideas do you have for what you could do?”
“Be kind to kids at school who are lonely,” Chloe said.
“Treat others fairly during sports,” Nic said.
“Let Shane act like he’s as old as me,” Drake said, “even though he’s not!”
“Seven minutes,” Shane groaned. “That’s all you’ve got, big brother! Seven minutes!”
“Alright,” Mr. Malku said. “Until next week, what are we?”
The group came to life, sitting up straight, “We’re Change Agents!” they chanted together.
“And why are we Change Agents?”
“Because we’re changing the world for Jesus Christ!”
“Very good!” Mr. Malku said. “I’ll see you back here next week and I hope to see you all at Sabbath school as well. Let’s pray. Any volunteers?”
“I’ll pray,” Shane said. “Dear Jesus, help us make a change in our world this week. Help us to be outward focused followers of you. Amen.”
Want to read the rest of this series?
The rest can be found here.
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